As the title says. Well, Mage Revised doesn't even say they're double-cost - but Guide to the Technocracy says:

Like the Background: Device (Talisman), each dot in Enhancements costs two Background points, not one; the modifications are essentially built-in devices.

Device does not clarify, merely pointing to the Talisman background in the Mage corebook which, near as I can tell, does not actually exist - unless it's in the pre-Revised edition?

At any rate, assuming it is, in fact, double-cost, why is it double cost? What's the game balance reason?


2 Answers 2


As of Mage 20th Anniversary Edition—which should probably supersede the pre-Revised Guide to the Technocracy—the double cost only exists for Enhancements but not Wonders (Devices/Fetishes/Talismans). There's only a throwaway line as to why.

Thanks to its powerful effects and unusual properties, the Enhancements Trait is more expensive than usual. This Background costs TWO points per dot, instead of the usual one point. (Page 313.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ ... That sounds like it used to be the case that it wasn't? Dammit White Wolf. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 16, 2016 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @linkhyrule5 You can blame Onyx Path this time, although they brought back most of the original developers. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Apr 16, 2016 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Brucatoooooo! shakes fists Anyway, so it sounds like if I want the motivation for the rules I need the pre-Revised oMage book? I don't actually care too much about the RAW, I just want to understand their reasoning so I don't trip over balance problems when I run my homebrew. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 16, 2016 at 22:32

They're not.

To address the question in the title: neither in Mage 2nd Edition, Mage Revised, Guide to the Technocracy, nor Mage: 20th Anniversary Edition does the background Talisman (or Wonder, or Device) cost double to acquire. As a result, the reference you're quoting in GttT was likely an error at the time that was corrected in the most recent edition, which would be M20.

Now, if you're also asking why Enhancements cost double, it's because as transformative mods (Genengineering and Cybernetics), they essentially boost the power level of a character in a way that cannot be easily removed or neutralized. Typical Backgrounds can be lost, stolen, or otherwise separated from the character; these can't.


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